In a recent poll, Americans rated health care as the most important issue facing the country

Although the United States spends more health care dollars per person than any other country, it ranks near the bottom among other wealthy nations in key areas of health, including homicides, obesity and diabetes, and chronic lung disease. A lack of health insurance, high rates of poverty, income inequality and reduced physical activity are just a few of the contributing factors to America’s poor health.

Fast Facts

  • The National Health Expenditure grew to $3.2 trillion in 2015—or $9,990 per person. This represents 17.8% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the year.
  • Americans spent $342.6 billion on prescription drugs in 2015.
  • National health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.6% per year from 2016 to 2025.

Health care in America

The U.S. spends $9,990 per person on health care, or 17.8% of the GDP—far higher than the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 8.9% per person. The high cost of health care in America means that citizens with below-average incomes are more likely than their counterparts in other countries to report not visiting a doctor when sick, getting a recommended test or treatment, filling a prescription or seeing a dentist. The rise of chronic diseases among Americans contributes a large portion of health care costs, as well as high administrative costs.

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